The Church does not live by its organisations and its programmes: it lives by the word of God given to it as the word spoken and acted.
Summer is in full swing! School is out, the heat is here, and vacation plans are finally happening; but when it comes to St. Matthew’s, we are not stopping. Summer at St. Matthew’s is a busy time packed with great ministry opportunities. For example, on June 15, I had a chance to drive 12 youth and chaperones to D.C. for a four-day mission trip where they will have a chance to serve the homeless, the hungry, and the lonely. Then, next Vacation Bible School; then, the youth are going on the ASP mission trip; then, another group is going to Guatemala on a mission trip. I think you get the idea. We are doing our best to keep our faith active throughout summer.
As a matter of letting you know what I’ve been doing since our last communication, I can tell you that Chelsea, Bob Lesche, and myself just attended the 233rd session of the Baltimore/Washington Conference Annual Conference. Between May 31-June 2, the three of us had a chance to hear reports, worship, and hear the work of all the Methodist Churches in Maryland, D.C. and a small part of West Virginia. This was the first Annual Conference under the leadership of Bishop Latrelle Miller Easterling. In her months with us, Bishop Easterling has proven to be an amazing preacher and a great pastor to the Conference.
There were many highlights during conference, but one that set the tone for the three days took place the first day during the clergy session. The Board of Ordained Ministry did not allow candidate for ministry T.C. Morrow to be voted and move forward with her ordination process. T.C. Morrow is an openly gay woman, and according to the Book of Discipline, she is not allowed to be ordained because of her sexual orientation. After heartfelt appeals on both sides of this issue, T.C. was denied the opportunity to be voted and approved by the clergy body. In response to this decision, retired pastor Phil Wogoman surrendered his credentials as an act of solidarity with those in the LGBTQ community whose gifts for ministry are not recognized in the United Methodist Church. We were all stunned and saddened by Rev. Wogoman’s decision.
As this dialogue continues to take place in our denomination and local congregations, let us be in prayer. The global United Methodist Church has called for a special General Conference for 2019 to address the theological and biblical questions around homosexuality. I am certain that all of us, in our own different ways and contexts, have an opinion on this issue. Let us be in prayer so that together we might hear each other, be respectful of each other and see where God is leading us.
On a personal note, at the end of next week I will be traveling to England for my last two weeks of coursework. I ask for your prayers for safety, lots of learning and my family. I also want to let you know that the St. Matthew’s staff will be working really hard to cover for any pastoral needs that may arise while I’m gone.
Yours In Christ,
Pastor Daniel Mejia